A potential bipartisan deal on infrastructure has some Democrats worried that the Biden administration could compromise with Republicans on climate issues.
Following the Thursday announcement that a bipartisan group of ten senators, led by Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Utah Republican Mitt Romney, had agreed to a $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan, some liberals are concerned that Biden’s desire to get a deal done with Republicans could outweigh his interest in climate legislation.
Democrats will likely need 60 votes in the Senate to pass an infrastructure bill.
Democratic New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich described a bipartisan deal on infrastructure as “a very dangerous approach.” That is, “unless we have a very well-defined and secure commitment from the necessary senators to include climate issues,” he said in a Thursday interview with The Washington Post.
An infrastructure package that goes light on climate and clean energy should not count on every Democratic vote. https://t.co/ghOzFj5iqm
— Martin Heinrich (@MartinHeinrich) June 9, 2021
“Mitch McConnell and the Koch brothers are not worth setting the planet on fire for,” Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said.
Mitch McConnell and the Koch brothers are not worth setting the planet on fire for.
I know some Dems may disagree with me, but that’s my unpopular opinion of the day
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 9, 2021
Even members of Biden’s own administration were reportedly concerned that he would agree to a deal on infrastructure.
“Everyone I talk to in the White House is worried that there is a very powerful contingent in the president’s ear that does actually want the compromise,” an economist who frequently speaks with White House officials, reportedly told the Post.
Democratic Montana Sen. Jon Tester, a member of the bipartisan group, acknowledged that some liberals might not support the agreement.
“There are some people that are going to say the climate provisions are more than enough, there are other people that are going to say it’s not adequate,” he said.
Republicans have criticized Biden’s infrastructure proposal, called the American Jobs Plan, for budgeting items that have little to do with traditional infrastructure.
The proposal includes billions of dollars for “racial equity and environmental justice” projects, as well as $400 billion for eldercare initiatives. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell described Biden’s proposal as a “$4.1 trillion grab bag.” (RELATED: Climate Experts Say Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Filled With ‘Wasteful Spending’ On Green Agenda)
Despite frequent promises to work with Republicans to pass legislation, Biden supported the use of the budget reconciliation process to pass the American Rescue Plan (ARP). His administration later claimed that the ARP was a bipartisan bill because Republican voters supported it.
The Biden administration is downplaying concerns about a compromise.
“The President has underscored that climate change is one of the defining crises we face as a nation, and in the negotiations, he and his team have continuously fought for leading on the clean energy economy and on clean energy jobs,” the White House spokesman, Andrew Bates, said.